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70                                 LIFE   OF
see tlie cave of Ataruipe, the probable comotory of fin
entirely obsolete nation, and whoro in a short time
tliey counted COO well preserved Iraniau Hkolotona,
regularly ranged in baskets of palm loaf bnvncluvs.
Hiunboldt examined the graves and their pocuiiavitios,
and took several skeletons and skulls away, which
the corpse-fearing natives transported with groat
repugnance, IB a quiet night ho loft; this
spot of a passed-away nation.—of an extinct Indiar^
Unfortunately these skeletons did not roach .Ifiuropo,
for, as we shall show in a siiUsoqueirt portion of the
volume., the first consignment of collections, about a
third of tlie entire American trophies, was lo»t by whip-
For the second tinio Humboldt and his friond,
ventured to navigate the waterfalls of Atiiros in his
light boat, the varied scenery which the long micooB-
sion. of waterfalls afforded mado the trip CIB beautiful
as dangerous. Their falling in with the Otomaks
living at TJruana showed Humboldt a now phono of
human existence, as it is remarkable that mow nhoxtld
find a pleasure in eating lime, or dirty clay soil, while
they live in the most beaiitifal and fertile districts,
and that tliey produce intoxication and madness by
means of the niopo powder, prepared from the huska
of a mimosa plant, when they ought not to l>o visited
by the degeneracy of civilized snuflt-taking human
Alter a passage of seventy-five days, during which
the travellers liad sailed 375 geographic lollevs on. the
five great rivers—Apure, OririoccojAtabupo, liio Negro
and Cassiqniare—in a small boat xixxdtu* n burning sun,
exposed to constant dangers and insect tormouby, they
arrived at Angostura, the chief town of the province
of Gugana, in the middle of JTIXUJ, ".1800, The haiti-
sh.ip>s they liad undergone were soon obliterated from
tlieir memory when they were welcomed by a khut
reception from, the governor of tho province, b'ufc tli<»ir
over-taxed physical strength was B.OW too amich ox-